Watch out, Santa: Four boys collect 200 toys for Lions Club

To their embarrassment, Grand Junction Lions Club past president Brad McCloud talks during the club’s weekly luncheon about the generosity of four boys who worked together to collect 200 toys for the Lions Club Toy Drive.

Grumpy old men are known to complain about “the kids these days.” They say their hearts aren’t in the right place, and they’re often too lazy to help make a difference in their communities.

Shattering the stereotype, four boys were honored Tuesday with a standing ovation by the Grand Junction Lions Club, for gathering more than 200 toys from their neighbors to be donated to the Lions’ toy drive on behalf of the Salvation Army.

“If you need hope for the future, these guys are it,” Lions Club member Brad McCloud said Tuesday.

Noah Nickerson, Austin Rush, Cal Hanlon and Dakota Rush are students at Orchard Avenue Elementary School. After learning of the disruption this year in the local Toys for Tots program, the boys started a neighborhood toy drive in the Spring Valley, Grand View and Dawn subdivisions.

The group, who simply call themselves the Neighborhood Boys, walked door to door one Saturday, passing out more than 300 flyers asking neighbors to leave a new unwrapped toy on their doorstep for collection the following Saturday.

“We got a lot of phone calls asking if it was legit,” parent Brad Rush said.

Nearly two-thirds of those neighbors participated, some greeting the Neighborhood Boys with homemade cookies and other treats as they loaded toys onto a flatbed trailer donated by another parent.

“We have toys, so we thought that other kids should have toys, too,” Dakota, 9, said.

The boys told the Lions Club members they organized the toy drive just to help other kids whose parents might be too poor to buy them presents.

Plus, it was fun, they said.

“We had fun just hanging out together,” Nickerson said. “It just felt good to help out.”


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